In 1862, Canada began the instruction of young men attending school in drill and military training. These young men were initially formed into militia sub-units known as Drill Associations that closely resemble present-day cadet corps.
Under the provision of Militia General order 18, in 1879, Associations for Drill in Educational Institutions were authorized for young men of at least 14 years of age. This General Order is taken as the official founding date of the Royal Canadian Army Cadets.
In 1887, Regulations and Orders for the Militia authorized the issue of equipment to schools for the purpose of training young men aged 12 years or older, provided that drill and military training become a part of the educational course of schools and time be specified and devoted to its instruction, and in 1898 these Drill Associations became known as the Cadet Corps.
The Strathcona Agreement of 1910 was on of the greatest factors influencing growth of the Canadian Cadet Movement. Lord Strathcona, Canadian High Commissioner to Great Britain, deposited $500,000 in trust with the Dominion government to encourage Canadian cadets in citizenship and patriotism through physical training, marksmanship, and military drill taught in school. The trust fund continues to support cadet activities today.
By 1918 there were more than 64,000 cadets in Canada and more than 40,000 former army cadets voluntarily enlisted to serve in World War I. Of the 64 Victoria Crosses awarded during WWI, 25 were bestowed upon former army cadets.
In WWII, more than 124,000 former army cadets voluntarily enlisted to server in the Armed Forces, more than 19,000 received commissions and more than 72,000 were awarded decorations. During the period of 1939-1945, cadet enrollment increased until the size of the cadet organization reached almost twice that of its pre-war status. By the end of the war, there were approximately 115,000 army cadets and the majority of young men attending secondary school were receiving pre-service training.
After WWII, a quota of 50,000 was set in an effort to effectively and economically train army cadets. The Army Cadet League of Canada (ACLC) was formed in 1971, to work in partnership with the Department of National Defence (DND) in support of Army Cadets, and on July 30, 1975, Bill C16 was given Royal Assent and amended the National Defence Act allowing young women to enroll as cadets. This change officially recognized the contribution being made by women, to the Cadet Corps since the formation of the Daughters of the Regiment in 1882 and led to a nation-wide reorganization of the Corps environment.
The 676 Lorne Scots Royal Canadian Army Cadets
This Corps was originally formed on October 12, 1916 as The Georgetown High School Cadet Corps. It was sponsored by the North Halton High School Board and affiliated with the Lorne Scots Peel, Dufferin & Halton Regiment.
From the 1920’s, cadet training was instituted as part of the high school curriculum until the late 1960’s when the Corps ceased to be under the jurisdiction of the local School Board. The local Corps was temporarily disbanded on February 21, 1968 until June 1, 1973 when the Corps was reactivated under the banner of the Lorne Scots Cadet Corps, and once again sponsored and affiliated to the Lorne Scots Peel, Dufferin & Halton Regiment. It is currently under co-sponsorship by the Georgetown Optimist Club.
The 676 Lorne Scots parade in the Col. John Roaf Barber, ED. CD. Armoury, named for a prominent Georgetown citizen who started a distinguished 50 year military career, as a cadet with the Georgetown High School Cadet Corps.
Today, Army Cadets is about having fun and developing skills that last a lifetime. Leaders encourage all cadets to incorporate respect, leadership, and physical fitness into their daily lives. The Cadet program has succeeded in fostering responsible, active and engaged members of society and has been part of our community for over 100 years.